Thursday, May 25, 2006

Local Team Trains For A Triathlon

Ok.... I've figured it out. Several members of our neighborhood are training for what has got to be some sort of triathlon. I'm certain that it's not the standard triathlon because instead of swimming, bicycling, and running being the three events, these individuals seem to be training for jumping, climbing and running. And bless their hearts, they are training hard. And while I am really quite envious of their dedication and focus, I have one small complaint. You see, their training schedule conflicts with our schedule, and their training routines create total havoc with our routines. You see... these individuals are squirrels. They run marathons through our yards, climb trees and jump from branch to branch... and they never quit. The seem to enjoy having an audience... because the really start this training process when we're walking our dogs. And as you can imagine, our dogs are fascinated! So much so, that they want to investigate and participate. And this is the crux of the matter. It needs a resolution.. one of which remains a mystery to me.

Obviously, it would be easiest if the Official Country Lane Squirrel Triathlon Team would cooperate and find another yard in which to train. Somehow, I just don't think that's going to happen. I think that this "Official Country Lane Squirrel Triathlon Team" has conspired to train in our yard, so that they can receive the highly entertaining benefit of driving "The Newfs Of Country Lane" out of their minds. Isn't this one heck of a conspiracy theory?

So, it appears, that we'll have to work on our own training regimen... and really work on the "Leave It" command..... among other things. Pawsitive reinforcement is called for, and I'm certain that our Newfy team will respond well to that. I just know that it is essential to get a grip on this before the walnut trees start dropping their treasures on to our yard. That's another conspiracy theory I need to deal with, but first things first.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Daddy...

The first picture is of my Mom and Dad the summer they got engaged. They had just won a canoe race on Long Lake in Fifield, Wisconsin. The second picture is of my Dad as a very young man. He is in the middle. The two other guys were his very best friends… and they remained best friends forever. All three are now in heaven…. And I like to think of them up there together, tapping another keg and having a rip-roaring good time

Today is my Father’s birthday. He would have been 75 years old. Unfortunately, he died in October of 1983, at the young age of 52. Sometimes it seems as though it’s been a very long time since we lost him, and then there are times when it seems just like yesterday. My Dad was such a vibrant person. He had a wonderful sense of humor and at times could be outlandish. He loved being silly and teasing us… especially when we were young.

We had lots of pets growing up. Often, one of the conditions of be allowed to get a pet, was that Daddy would be allowed to chose the pet’s name. As an example of this, we had a guinea pig named S.O.B., a hamster named Horace. There were always lots and lots of pets. My Dad loved dogs, but was also fond of cats. He walked the Dogs every night, and it wasn’t unusual for a cat to follow along.

He was a loving man… a loving husband and father. While he was not a saint, he was a good man. Certainly, he had his flaws… as all of us do. He was honest and loyal. He had lots of good friends… and made new friends easily. He was the favorite Uncle. Everyone loved Uncle Jack, and whenever we were on some sort of family expedition, all the kids would want to ride in his car.

He loved the outdoors and his most favorite place on earth was the Northwood’s of Wisconsin. He called it God’s Country. No matter where he was, he was an early riser! Fishing was his passion. He enjoyed hunting too. And while he enjoyed a good catch, I think he was just happy being on the water, or in the woods. He loved bird watching, and passed that passion on to me. In fact, I have his binoculars. I’ll never forget when he got them. At the time, they were “top of the line” and quite expensive. My Mother gave them to me… and whenever I watch a bird through them, it feels like I’m almost watching them through my Dad’s eyes.

I miss him so much… I feel badly that Russell never got to meet him. I feel badly that my nephew’s never knew their Papa Jack. I “know” that my Father is nearby…. Loving us and watching… and for that I am grateful.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Stormy Night

It's been a stormy night here. We've had storms on and off since around 7PM. Luckily they've not been severe, and seem to be slowing down. I hope they are, because poor Yelda is terrified of storms and is quite anxious. I put her to bed thinking they were over, and she's not settling down too well. I'm going to go and give her some rescue remedy. Poor baby!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rain Rain Go Away!!!

I took this picture yesterday. The sun finally peaked out, and as we were returning home from our 1st Mother's Day activity, I saw these leaves, and decided to try and photograph them. We're due for more rain... we've been lucky in that we haven't gotten as much rain as those of you in the northeast, but it's pretty soggy here too.

Mother’s Day was full of activity, and we spent much of the day in the car going to and fro! We started out by attending Mass and then having breakfast. We then spent an hour or so at home with the dogs before heading to Effie’s and then on to Peter & Kim’s. We got home shortly after 4PM and had a couple more hours to spend with the dogs. (It was at this point that I photographed the leaves). We then spent the evening at my Mom’s. Everyone had a lovely day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kanga Newf?

The other morning, I was outside with Yelda, trying to convince her that if she did her "business" that breakfast would soon follow. She of course, really didn't seem to care much, because she was so distracted by all the little birdys and other critters.

There were several incidents of her tricking me into thinking that we were getting somewhere. She'd walk around, sniffing and hunting for the spot... then she'd sort of squat... and....
(I've learned from experience to pay very close attention to their faces)... she'd get this intense look on her face... and WHAM! She was up and off.... just like a kangaroo! She uses her back legs to spring about 2 feet in the air. Actually, the more appropriate word would be "launch" because she really does launch! Anyway, she was totally intent on investigating whatever had caught her attention.

Of course, I would get her attention... and we'd start the entire process over again!!!
She did this about 4-5 times this morning, and it occured to me that I have a "Kanga-Newf" on my hands!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cora in the Dogwood

These are the pictures that I took of my sweet Cora this past weekend. It occured to me that it's "The Year Of The Dog", and since our Dogwood tree has been so beautful this year, it would be fun to get some pictures of our dogs in the midst of all the blossoms.

They didn't turn out as I had hoped, but they're still cute. And Cora was an angel for putting up with another of my whacky whims! Bless her heart!

I am going to try and get some of Kira, Ben & Yelda, but I think I'll need some help from Russell to do that!

Weekend Report

The weekend is over, and I'm back at work writing this, instead of working. It was a relatively quiet weekend. Russell left on Friday for the Spring camp-o-ree, and I was on my own. You'd think that after almost 12 years, I'd get used to it. And while I don't get as distraught as I once did, there's always this empty feeling as I watch him back out of the driveway.

After he left, I went back in to let the dogs finish their dinners, and get a good drink of water. I then left to run a few errands. I went to Petsmart to pick up more dog food, and then to Wendy's to get a quick dinner. Of course, any intentions of it being "quick" went right out the window as I really got into the book I was reading. I enjoy reading in restaurants... it's a place where there are few distractions... and I can really read! Almost 2 hours went by, and any thoughts of "going Krogering" disappeared! I hurried home and took the dogs back out, and we then settled in for a quiet night.

Of course, Yelda being Yelda, any solitude was hard to come by. She seemed determined to keep me from relaxing, and I knew that she was bored. I did my best to entertain her, and she finally settled down for a bit and chewed on her favorite bone. Cora, Kira & Ben were all very good. I was on the phone with my friend Susan, talking about her Grandmother, who was quite ill. It seemed though that medications had started working and she was finally stable. Then I heard this loud noise coming from the living room. I told Susan that I needed to go and check, and sure enough, it was Yelda. She had somehow gotten her collar stuck on her crate, and managed to pull it out into the living room. Now this would have freaked out most dogs... but not Yelda. Unless it's a thunderstorm, she's basically fearless!

I managed to free her and put her crate back. At this point, I was weary, and decided it was late and time for bed. We all snuggled in for the night. I never sleep well the first night Russell is away. It didnt' help that the phone rang around 3AM! Of course, it was a wrong number. Our phone number is very similar to the phone number of a local escort service. So it's not uncommon for us to get calls in the middle of the night from people in need of an escort!

Saturday dawned and it was a beautiful day. I spent a lazy morning at home with the dogs. It was so nice not to have to rush off somewhere. I left around noon, and went to Meijers to pick up some things and then over to my Mom's for a visit. As with many Mother-Daughter relationships, my relationship with my Mother has it's ups and downs. There is a weird dynamic between my Mother and myself, and Saturday's visit left alot to be desired.

My Mother is becoming a recluse. She's decided to become bed-fast and refuses to go out. It's so frustrating, and really a waste. My Mother's health isn't the best, but it's not bad enough to keep her in bed. This is her choice, and Lilli & I are at our wit's end as to what to do about it. My sister Lilli & I are a unified front and that's a good thing, not to mention that it's also a huge comfort. So my Mother and I had an odd interlude. It wasn't really an argument... more of a philosophical disagreement. And, I decided it was time to call it a day. I headed back home for a couple of hours, and took Cora outside to take some new pictures of her. I also photographed a dandelion, which I've included in this post. I picked up some chinese food and headed over to the Fletcher's to watch a movie. Scott and Aaron were at the same Camp-o-ree as Russell. After the movie (Zathura) was over, I headed home, and watched another movie (Sabrina) and then read late into the night.

I went to Mass at Mary Help on Sunday. Russell was waiting for me when I came out and it was so wonderful to see his smiling face. We had lunch and drove over to his Mom's to visit. He then had to run to the office for an hour, so I went to the store, picked up stuff for dinner. I fixed chicken, corn casserole and green beans with almonds. Russell got home just in time to eat, and we had a quiet evening.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Robin Family Update

I thought about the nest all night long. I checked it while out with the dogs, but saw no sign of Mama Robin. There were Robins around, but none seemed to go to the nest. When we were leaving for work, I didn't bother looking... because it made me feel totally helpless and very sad.

Russell had gone outside ahead of me, and as I started to get into the car, he said "you'll be happy to know that the Mama Robin is sitting on the nest. I jumped out of the car, and walked quickly to where I could see for myself. Sure enough, there she was. My prayers were answered.... and the babies still have a chance, thanks be to GOD.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to our Newf Kira!!!

Happy Birthday to our Newf Kira. She turns 6 years old today. She is still full of the vim and vigour she's known for. I love you girlie girl. I hope you enjoyed your cheese and peanut butter crackers, and all the other treats you had today.

You can get to know Kira better by visiting her webpage! All you need to do is click

I'm worried....

I am quite worried about our Robin family. As I posted the other day, Ben (one of our Newfs) saw a Robin sitting on a nest. I got some wonderful pictures of it, and the nest was positioned in a place that was easy for us to keep watch over it.

However today, when we were outside doing some yardwork (and yes, I was participating!) I looked up and saw that the nest had disappeared. At first I thought it might have been knocked down by the Hawk I saw this morning. Russell pointed out that there is no way a hawk would get that close to the house. And I think he was right. We had heavy rain showers earlier in the day, and quite a bit of wind. We think that it was the wind that blew the nest down.

Russell went behind the bushes, and sure enough, there was the nest. Upon further investigation, Russell found 1 baby, and I found another. They were both alive. Remembering an article we read a year or so ago, debunking the myth that we shouldn't touch the babies, we carefully placed both babies back into the nest, and the put the nest back in it's original spot.

Initially, there was no sign of the Mama Robin, but as we were putting the nest back, a couple of Robins flew to a nearby branch and were visably agitated. We got out of the way as fast as we could, and watched from a distance. We never saw one of the adult robins go to the nest. Russell thinks that they will return to the nest when things quiet down outside. He finished mowing the lawn, I worked around the yard, trying to stay as far away as possible.
I hope and pray that the Mama Robin returns to the nest... and tends to her babies.....

Monday, May 01, 2006

The verdict

The verdict on this past weekend is in: it was a good weekend! I went to an art auciton with my cousin Barbara on Friday evening and we had a blast. Saturday was spent doing errands, visiting with Russell's Mom and then going to our friends' house for dinner. We spent the evening on their deck, chatting and enjoy the lovely spring evening.

After Church on Sunday, we spent a quiet and very relaxing afternoon at home. Sunday evening saw us celbrating my Mother's birthday at Mother's house. All in all a delightful weekend!

I managed to snap a few pictures on Sunday. While outside with Russell, Ben spotted the robin sitting on it's nest. Our dogwood is magnificent, and this morning I saw an Indigo Bunting in our backyard!